Whenever a new 9mm hits the stands– wait, scratch that. Whenever any new firearm hits the stands, it seems there will always be those who exclaim: “Really? Another one of those?” There were plenty of folks saying that when the Hudson H9 pistol was introduced a few years back.
I have been guilty of saying similar things regarding certain weapons and gear, but only when I have actually felt it in my guts. I have no issues with people and companies making money, and there is nothing wrong with the classics.
But there are times when I feel it is simply rehashing and reintroducing – under the pretense of innovating – rather than actually making something new or great. I feel that sometimes, firearms companies are trying to make quick money on the backs of their customers. Not the best long-term business move, in my untrained opinion.
You can pull that kind of behavior off with other industries, maybe. But certainly not with firearms. You need to work out all of the kinks and bumps before you get that product to the assembly line and out to shops and warehouses.
The H9 by Hudson Manufacturing has its pros and cons, and we will be discussing some of them in this post.
Hudson Company Background
At the time of writing this article, Hudson (Hudson Mfg) seems to be in some hot water with their customers and their distributors. Due to issues concerning their production partners and cash flow, there is a chance that the company is about to go under. It is all still up in the air, so we will have to wait and report as things develop. I hope they make it, personally. This is a company which may need time to grow.
Hudson began its journey in 2013, when Cy and Lauren Hudson thought up the H9, and proceeded to set up shop in Temple, TX. The H9 is considered their flagship product, and it went through a couple of prototype phases in 2014 and 2015. Right now, it is still the only firearm on their website.
The Hudsons put everything they had into creating their vision. I feel that – regardless of the outcome – you need to admire that. They brought in several specialists and teams to help them execute their idea, and in 2017 they debuted, right along with their H9 model, in Las Vegas.
So, let’s get more into it. What is the Hudson H9, exactly?
Hudson H9 Pistol
The Hudson Mfg H9 is a striker-fired weapon, which also resembles a 1911. It is a hybrid of sorts, weighs 37 oz, holds 15+1 rounds, and is generally more expensive than many other striker-fired pistols.
It is a different style firearm, so there is no real point in comparing it to 9mms OR 1911s. If you are in the market for a striker-fired gun, this would not necessarily be a must-check-out kind of deal. By all means, if you want a hybrid, you should get one and see how it feels in your hand.
One thing which is immediately noticeable, is the spring’s location. It is way lower than usual, and it is set in such a way that muzzle flip becomes more manageable. The main competitors of this gun are not the 9mm polymers, but the 1911s of the world.
Which seriously make me wonder why the Hudson couple went along with it to begin with. The capacity is greater than a single-stack 1911, and the grip is not too thick (for a double stack magazine), but is that enough to make it great? Is it worth the price they are asking?
Some 1911 models can cost $1500 and over. The H9 has an MSRP of about $1050, or a bit more. Incidentally, now that the company seems to be going through tough times, the prices are going down. I recently saw an H9 for something like $750 or so, online. Maybe it was closer to $800. Don’t remember.
One disadvantage of this gun – which I have heard of and not experienced personally – is that it tends to shoot low. This is crucial. The sights (of the ‘big dot’ variety) are okay, but it can be difficult to get a good sighting with an orange dot of that size. But, on the other hand, it is the perfect sight-type for a ‘point and shoot’ situation.
And, to be fair, that is pretty much what this pistol is about. It is a lot more of a self-defense gun than a competition gun or a target practice gun.
Here are some more of its attributes: there is a small rail under the muzzle, steel frame, steel slide, steel sights (tritium front sight by Trijicon). There is an ambidextrous slide lock, reversible magazine release button, and some serrations of the top.
Despite its shortcomings, it is a pistol which is built well and is sturdy, and which has a fine, short, quasi-1911 type of trigger.
The H9’s components and parts were designed to assist the shooter, but even so, this gun does take some getting used to. This can be seen as another disadvantage for some, who are looking for a more run-of-the-mill weapon which they can pick up and fire.
As you may know, I am of the opinion that you need to regularly train with your carry
That said, you cannot deny that some guns are more go-to than others. The Glock, for example, is known for its ability to simply be picked up and shot with satisfying results. This may not be the case with the H9. Not at first, anyway.
When you make a hybrid, you run some risks. Every manufacturer has probably dealt with this. As a hybrid, it will not be everyone’s cup of 9mm tea. And this says something about the value of the weapon.
When you get down to it, I feel there is nothing truly impressive about the H9, which justifies the price and which increases the value of the weapon for your everyday shooter. There are better striker-fired guns, there are better hammer-fired guns, and there are better 1911s. I feel Hudson kind of missed the mark, but that’s just me.
Hudson H9 For Sale
As mentioned, prices are now going down, but that could change whenever the company announces its next move. Right now, price and availability are both uncertain due to the nature of the manufacturer’s business affairs.
As for the product itself, the opinions vary greatly. It seems to be a pistol which doesn’t really malfunction, and which successfully marries the 1911 and 9mm in an all-steel package. The main issue, I feel, is the apparent lack of value or ROI for the price you are paying.
I’ll tell you one thing that people are not happy with, and that is the fact that Hudson’s customer service seems to be so unresponsive and not too forthcoming about the future. There are shooters who handed in their weapons under Hudson’s guarantee, and have not been contacted since.
I mean, even if you are going through financial straits, at least talk to your customers. Don’t just issue a statement or press release and wash your hands of it.
I don’t doubt the company’s good intentions, nor their commitment, but right now I just don’t see it in the field. Maybe when this bad business is laid to rest, they will be able to get back in the game.
The H9 offers a unique design, and it really does manage to bring a few of the best 1911 and 9mm traits to the surface. Still, it remains a question of price and value.
Hudson is not the first to think up and create a hybrid 1911, but they certainly did it in their own way. They had a vision, and they rolled with it.
This is a gun which feels a lot like a 1911, but it isn’t. If you are looking for a 1911, you may be disappointed. It is more comparable to something close to a steel Glock (though, to many shooters’ dismay, such a product does not exist).
The H9 has great potential, but in its current incarnation it doesn’t bring enough to the table. The firepower is adequate and the build is modern, but there is still something lacking there. There is nothing truly compelling about the weapon, and I think that is why not too many people are excited about it.
Or perhaps it really is merely a question of price.
As one YouTube put it: “it’s neat, but not $1100 neat.”
Agree with you Hayden. I really like the idea of a metal framed striker so I tried to email Hudson a few times even before their official launch. Return email(s)were never timely, it always took a few days for any kind of response from them. Very odd for an up and coming company to act that way in a world of cellphones, internet and instant communications.
I’m hoping that some of the other manufacturers will introduce metal frame striker pistols over the next few years. I have grown tired of polymer framed everything. I know it’s a cheap way to produce a pistol but a metal frame along with a metal trigger and wood grips just feels better in the hand.
Get yourself a CZ
Dan Wesson Specialist
My gunsmith bought one, he liked it, but the recoil spring thing and lack of service have left him with an expensive broken toy he can’t get rid of, even at a big discount.
Nice that you wrote an article about the Hudson but I think it is a little too late. Their Facebook posts stopped in December of 2018 and they haven’t replied to my email from two weeks ago. I think they are out of business.
Peculiar thing about Hudson in that they preferred (and limited their customers to) contact by email only. I inquired one time as to why they did not offer a phone number.
Also, the recoil spring could not be changed by the customer. For some reason Hudson staked their recoil springs in place which meant that the customer had to send the pistol back the the mothership for replacement. I know of no other manufacturer who does this. Talk about an inconvenience. Who would tolerate that?
I definitely hear you on that brother. We just wanted to get the information out there because we receive a lot of questions about them.